Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ive just got back from shopping at Sainsbury’s and am annoyed !!

Just a simple (but important) thing has made me see red.

Plymouth Gin

Ive just seen the new bottle design in the flesh (or the supermarket shelf, to be exact)

At best it could be called bloody ugly, but more truthfully, its just plain shite.
It looks like the sort of bottle you’d see a litre of east european, car engined brewed vodka, sold to you in a cheap corner shop ‘supermarket’ for about 3 quid.
What sort of brand image are they trying to promote with that…?

A bit of background for you all :

I love Plymouth Gin, I firmly believe it tastes better than any other gin on the planet,
it’s the only gin with an appellation controllee, it has to be made within the town walls of Plymouth from the sweet Atlantic rain off Dartmoor.

I recommend it to all my friends, I actively pomote it whenever and wherever possible, and have done so for the last 10 years since, they started to positively re-built the brand,
(and my palette matured enough to appreciate the complex qualities of this king of all gin’s).

I even send bottles of it around this planet of ours as presents and gifts for friends all over this world

It’s the only gin I will have in my house . . . . .
although I do carry both types ‘blue’ and ‘red’, and supplement this with damson gin in the winter and the fruit cup in the summer !!

I’m passionate about this gin, it has history, lineage, style and a quirkiness all of its own and most importantly its tastes better than any of the rest


This is the 3rd bottle makeover in as many years. You can already see the next stage in this process in a couple of years time

‘Oh, well we’ve introduced the new bottle designs and sales have rolled off by ‘xx’ percentage, Hmm well its obviously not the packaging or the placement (coz we employed the best people to design and promote that) it must be the product itself at fault – why don’t we change that and re-launch it -….... ....’
..... and so will see the demise of the best gin(s) in the world
Guys it wasn’t broken, why the need to fix it !!!

Please, please, can we have a return to the original leaded bottle, resplendent with the monk on back ?

Monday, June 26, 2006

So Solstice 2006

So welcome friends and casual surfers.
So another year clock by and once again we gather on the Tor to welcome in the Solstice and to see if she wants to put in an appearance.
We renew old acquaintances, make new friendships, cast around, drum, drink, chill, and we wait for her…

Thought I’d attempt to share it with you…

‘jr its doc I’m @ parkway’ So Solstice begins ….
Pick doc up, set him up in the garden with a Pimms and test match special on long wave.

‘So, what do you reckon on the weather tomorrow morning ?’
‘Gonna be wet, the remnants of tropical storm Alberto is swinging through tonight.’
Check the barometer in the house and the histogram on my watch, and yep, their all ticking down. Check out the BBC weather site and the Met Office site for the synoptic – Yep there’s going to be a large front barrelling straight through Glastonbury this evening, looks like a classic north Atlantic low, but its travelling fast so it may clear by morning.
‘Doc, is that tent of yours waterproof ?’
‘Hope so, it cost enough !’
Pack my bags, load the car, head for Clifton to pick S up

pausing momentarily to pop in Jessops to pick up the velvia shots I took from the winter solstice 6 months ago.

Cross the suspension bridge and head South….

Incident free to Glastonbury (makes a change for the M5)
Drop Doc off at the camp site and check into Gorge and Pilgrims ( the 15th century coaching in on the high street)

Meet A&R in the bar and head round to Knights for a fish n chip supper (doc appears with a ear piece plugged in listening to the England game on 5 live, makes for ‘interesting’ conversation over food.

England win and the jingoistic melay continues, flags out all over the town (except on the town hall, which is flying the French tricolour – strange),
head to the GnP bar for a swift muscle relaxant before bed time

Check out the window before bed, the wind is howling through the high street and the signs hanging from the crystal shop front are going crazy – looks like the wind has backed and the veered pressures spiked up, and dropped back – here comes the rain !!

Wake up at 1.30, look out of the window, yep its stair rod’in down out their, best pack for the worst.
Wake S, grab our stuff and head down to meet AnR in the main thoroughfare

Were cheating this year, and taking the car to the foot of the Tor and walking up the hill from there. By the time we get there the rain’s mostly blown through and it’s a muggy and overcast night.

Start the climb up the trackway, look up lights are reflected off the tower with strange shadows with no discernable focus, we climb on, as we make the second turn we loose sight of the tower but the talking drums come into focus with their unhurried syncopated rhythm, just made for this place.
Lots of young zider cadets coming down, wish them a ‘happy solstice’ get some ‘and you too’s’ back and a series of blank chemically induced stares, with eyes the size of dish plates.

Climb on, as we approach the top, the focus of the lights being generated is being provided by a duo of fire breathers/jugglers.

Get to the top, breathless but successful in the ‘walk of the penitent man’, it may be a good sunrise this morning !!

I walk around the tower, past the fire breathers, there’s still rain in the air and people are huddling inside and around the tower. I make my away over to our usual spot – we come here year after year, you never no who’s gonna turn up, but you know someone will.

And find JnJ, TnT, Doc and Uncle Alan are already ensconced facing outwards where she will make an appearance.
Friends are greeted the with enthusiasm as they emerge out of the dark, some already stumbling from the mystical properties of zummerst champagne, some with the eyes like torches stimulated by more manufactured chemicals.

We chill and chat we wander around the plateau, the wind continues to whip through and is accompanied by the odd face of rain. Chocolate, booze and cake are passed around.

As if by magic the Sofa™ appears, in the company of Doc. After a 10year sojourn in Germany, he’s returned to these shores, older, wiser, but still intact – man its good to have him back and I’m made up he’s, made it up here from Kernow to be with us all this morning.

Time clocks by.

Its 4.30 am, its getting lighter and the dawn is fast approaching.
The local chief druid comes marching up the hill

He and his flock gather on the plateau behind the tower a circle is cast and opened for ‘working’
He stands in the centre, points his staff North.

‘Let there be peace in the North’ he cries
‘Let there be peace in the North the crowd echo’s’

‘Let there be peace in the East’
‘Let there be peace in the South;
‘Let there be peace in the West
‘Let there be peace all over the world’

Bread soaked in wine is passed around and the coming dawn is celebrated.
Even the local sheep get in on the act following the laylines towards the coming dawn.

Finally silence falls across the crowd, even the talking drums cease, and all faces turn towards the distant Mendip hills.

And we wait, and wait, will the front clear, will the clouds disperse.
Red and orange light licks the horizon, the low clouds becoming highlighted as if framed in an oil painting. And we wait …

And finally the guest of honour makes her diva appearance, as only she can ( and rightly so ..), clearing the horizon and dismissing the night.


The clouds blow through, revealing a blue sky and warm vitamin S beams down on us in her morning glow.



Happy New Year One And All


Friday, June 16, 2006

Hello World

Well, lets start by making it a better place with a piccie from my collection

As were fond of saying in Llandau, Ciao for now !

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